Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Springtime Aprons

Spring has finally arrived where I live. It is such a joy to see the first spring flowers bloom. Our crab apple tree is about ready to blossom, and our favorite springtime birds have returned after the long winter. Over the weekend Jemimah spotted our first Baltimore Oriole of the season, as well as the return of beef cows across the road. It is wonderful to see her delight in these signs of spring's return.
The past few weeks have been busy with spring cleaning and garden preparations. Adam has increased the size of our garden and has plans of planting sweet corn this year.

I have also found time to sew some aprons for my Etsy page, Lilacs in Spring.
Yesterday I listed eight aprons and a few kitchen towels. The first apron shown in this post is sewn from a fabric that truly reflects the season! While sewing the apron I seemed to spot a different flower with each step of the sewing process. There are irises, roses, lily of the valley, daisies and more.
If you are looking for a new spring apron be sure to visit my page and take a peek at my new listings. I have some other aprons cut-out so hopefully I will be adding some other aprons in the next few weeks.

Are you enjoying beautiful springtime blooms where you live? What is your favorite?

"Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight." Psalm119:35

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Frontier Shirt

 Each Christmas I try to make a special gift for Adam. This year I made Adam a Cavalry/Frontier shirt. I have admired this style shirt for gentlemen for quite a while and have dreamed of sewing one for Adam.
Last winter Adam and I watched "Call of the Wild" from 1935. We both really enjoyed the movie, and Adam decided that he must have a shirt like the one Clark Gable and his friend wore in the movie. The shirts worn in the movie were sewn from a thick checked wool. The shirts looked so warm and cozy, just perfect for traveling across Alaska. It seemed the perfect time to sew Adam a square bib shirt.
I was excited to begin work on the shirt, but had a little difficulty finding a pattern, mostly because I didn't know what to call the style. I was delighted when I came across the Folkwear Frontier Shirt Pattern. After more than one failure in making garments for Adam I went forward with this project with much caution. Thankfully I found the pattern to be extremely well designed! All of the pieces went together perfectly and the construction methods recommended by the pattern were perfect.
I love all of the details in the design of this shirt. The front "bib" covers a slit in the front, so the shirt can easily be pulled over the head.
The construction method for the back yoke was terrific and went together with greater ease than I had expected. It looks a bit wrinkled in the picture due to a number of washings and it is flannel. When I make another Frontier shirt for Adam I plan to use wool or at least a wool blend.
I also liked how the v-design from the back yoke was mimicked in the cuff.

Most of all I am so pleased that Adam is enjoying his shirt! He loves to wear it on the weekends while working outside. He says that it more comfortable than wearing a t-shirt and yet keeps him nice and warm. He has even chopped wood while wearing this shirt and claims that it allows him a greater range of arm motion than a typical button up shirt.

Friday, January 18, 2019

McCall's 1104

A few years ago I began collecting vintage apron patterns. I enjoy the variety of styles and unique details found in older apron patterns. It is amazing to contemplate just how many different apron patterns were available in the 1930's through the 1960's. Women must have enjoyed sewing aprons during that time period and they must have enjoyed individualizing their aprons to reflect their own special sense of style.
 One of the first truly vintage apron patterns I purchased was McCall's 1104. Originally I found the pattern on Pinterest, and then began searching for a copy to purchase on Etsy and Ebay. Thankfully it is a fairly common pattern, and from what I have observed it appears that it was reprinted more than once.
One of my favorite features of this apron is the back button design. I dislike aprons that ties at the back of my neck, as they seem to pull and grow uncomfortable throughout the day. When I discovered this design I was immediately taken with the back button closure. Not only is it cute, it is comfortable! After making two aprons from this pattern for myself I can attest to the fact that this design is very wearable for a long day of working.
Besides being practical I think this apron is very flattering! The smooth front and slight gathering at the sides above the waist are a perfectly lovely detail.
Over the years I have had great fun selecting fabric and coordinating bias binding for these aprons. I think the fine bias binding adds the perfect vintage touch.
One fabric that has proven to be a favorite when paired with this apron design is this sweet chicken print. Last week I used the last of this fabric to sew one last golden/cream chicken apron.

I am hoping to share a little more about the vintage apron patterns I have collected and currently sew and sell in my Etsy shop. I have added a page at the top of my blog specifically for this type of post.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Fixing My Eyes on Jesus - Review

This beautiful, daily devotional by Anne Graham Lotz will help you start each morning with a focus on Jesus. Fixing My Eyes on Jesus will encourage, uplift, renew, and challenge you on your spiritual walk.
Trusted Bible teacher, bestselling author, and CEO of AnGel Ministries Anne Graham Lotz understands how easy it is to lose focus on Jesus and stray off course. Stay on the right path with this beautiful, daily devotional that is perfect for new believers as well as those more seasoned in the faith. Selections from Scripture coupled with Anne’s insightful meditations help you stay connected to the Lord all week. This edition has large type for ease of reading and makes a beautiful gift for a friend or family member of any age.
 Fixing My Eyes on Jesus
Daily Moments in His Word
By: Anne Graham Lotz

Each year I enjoy adding a new devotional to my morning quiet time. This year I was delighted to have the opportunity to receive a copy of Fixing My Eyes on Jesus by Anne Graham Lotz. Over the years I have read a couple of her books, including similar daily devotionals. 

This volume includes 365 daily devotions. Each devotion begins with a Bible verse and is followed with a few paragraphs to apply the truth of the verse to our daily lives. Though short in length I find there is much to consider in each devotion. I love the theme of Fixing My Eyes on Jesus - what better way could we start our day or year? Anne Graham Lotz shares way we can fix our eyes and thoughts on Jesus in a way that is easy to understand and apply.

Fixing My Eyes on Jesus is truly a beautiful book. When I opened my copy I was expecting a smaller book, it measures a generous 6 5/8" wide by 8 3/4" long. The cover is faux leather and embossed with gold lettering. On the back cover Hebrews 12:2 is embossed in gold lettering, I thought that was a uniquely special touch.

Fixing My Eyes on Jesus would make a lovely gift! It is definitely a book I would share with loved ones. Throughout the year ahead I look forward to being further inspired to fix my eyes on Jesus!

*I received a complimentary copy of Fixing My Eyes on Jesus from Book Look Blogger in exchange for my honest review*

I love how Hebrews 12:2 is imprinted on the back of this book!

" Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2

Friday, December 28, 2018

Peanut Butter Shortbread Cookies

Throughout my childhood years my mother always loved shortbread cookies and each Christmas my mom would receive a large tin of shortbread cookies from a dear friend. Due to this tradition, shortbread cookies will always be linked to the Christmas season in my memories. I have tried a variety of shortbread recipes over the years looking for just the right one, and I did find one simple butter shortbread cookie recipe that is as close to those cookies of my childhood as I can find. But today I am going to share a more recent favorite and a recipe that is becoming equally linked with the Christmas season for my own family. I guess it is a new twist on an old favorite!

Peanut butter and chocolate is my favorite flavor combination! Soon after marrying I discovered this recipe for peanut butter shortbread on-line. It was an immediate hit with my family and is a recipe I often make to share at gatherings and over the holidays. This year I made a total of four batches. Since there aren't any eggs in this recipe these cookies remain fresh for quite a while, it fact the flavor improves after the first day or two. They are a sturdy cookie, making them ideal to ship to family out of state.
One double batch of peanut butter shortbread cookies, as well as a batch of Kisses Cocoa Cookies.
Peanut Butter Shortbread Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup confectionery sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour*
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter, peanut butter and confectionery sugar. Add vanilla extract, mix well. Add flour, mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. I use my hand mixer to prepare the dough, however you can mix this dough by hand. Once the dough is well combined and no longer crumbly, scoop out about a tablespoon of dough. I then roll the dough into a ball place onto ungreased cookie sheet and then press ball to flatten. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes, or until bottom of cookies is lightly golden.

*I use half all-purpose flour and half ultra grain flour white whole wheat, as this adds a great texture to the cookie. However the cookies are terrific made entirely all-purpose flour too.
We all enjoyed this Christmas season and made so many sweet memories. One weekend we made our first gingerbread house, using a Wilton kit. Maybe next year we will try making a gingerbread house from scratch, as it was a fun family activity.
 I think Miranda enjoyed her first Christmas too! She seemed to take special pleasure in listening to records, and watching as they spun. Thankfully all of our records survived the season. : )

I hope you are all enjoying a lovely week as you prepare for the New Year. 

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Savior of the World

I recently read this devotional by David Jeremiah from his daily devotional Greater Purpose.

The Savior of the World

And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
Luke 2:16

There's no one like Christ the Lord. He's the Savior of the world, the Lamb of God, the Wonderful Counselor, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

The Bible uses more than 300 names and titles to describe Him, but Jesus can no more be contained in His names and titles than the ocean can be bottled in a collection of containers, however beautiful. He is timeless and boundless, and His infinity extends through the universe into perpetual depths of forever-ness.

Charles Spurgeon confessed, "I know my words cannot honor Him according to His merits: I wish they could. Indeed, I grow less and less satisfied with my thoughts and language concerning Him. He is too glorious for my feeble language to describe Him. If I could speak with the tongues of men and of angels, I could not speak worthily of Him. If I could borrow all the harmonies of heaven, and enlist every harp and song of the glorified, yet were not the music sweet enough for His praises."

We've made Christmas into a complicated affair; but Jesus Himself, though incomprehensible, is as simple as a humble manger and as loving as an innocent Babe. Come with haste... and adore Him.
-David Jeremiah from Greater Purpose 

" Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, 'I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'" John 8:12

May you all have a blessed Christmas celebrating the amazing gift of Jesus our Savior! 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas - Review

The fascinating stories and origins behind Christmas traditions such as the colors of red and green, the Christmas tree, caroling, nativity scenes, the Yule log, gift-giving, stockings, advent wreaths, mistletoe, and holly.
The cheer of a crackling hearth fire. Colorful cards from friends and loved ones. An evergreen tree festooned with ornaments. The golden traditions of Christmas—gifts, wreaths, stockings, carols, mistletoe, and more—infuse our celebration of the season with meaning and glowing memories. And, in ways you may not realize, they point us to the birth of Christ. Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas reveals the people, places, and events that shaped the best-loved customs of this merriest of holidays. Here are spiritual insights, true-life tales, and captivating legends to intrigue you and your family and bring new luster and depth to your celebration of Jesus’ birth. 
The traditions of Christmas lend beauty, awe, and hope to the holiday, causing people all over the world to anticipate it with joy. The stories in this book will warm your heart as you rediscover the true and eternal significance of Christmas.
Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas
By Ace Collins

Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas is an engaging look at the most beloved traditions of Christmas. I love history, and what could be more interesting that learning the stories behind our Christmas traditions?

I was very pleased with how Mr. Collins would share the legends and folklore behind each tradition, and then bring it forward into the traditions we recognize today. He is quick to point out that these legends are just that, a legend and not a known fact. In some cases he shared more than one folklore, as each country would have varying legends behind the same tradition.

One fact that I did not know and found to be surprising was that in England and America Christmas was not a time for families and holy reflection until the mid-1800's. While other European countries, such as Germany, celebrated Christmas as a time for families, England and America celebrated quite differently!

A few of my favorite chapters were:

Christmas Cards: The story of a busy English Knight who sent out an artistic Christmas card rather than the usual Christmas letter. His first Christmas cards snowballed into a beloved tradition.

Christmas Seals: This story of generosity and love that began in Denmark, but eventually spread to the US was truly inspirational. I was touched how one man's heart of compassion impacted so many suffering with tuberculosis.

Decorations and Ornaments: I loved learning the stories behind how ornaments were originally made and used. It was interesting to read of the progression from simple handmade ornaments to blown glass ornaments and eventually factory made ornaments. It was also surprising to see how world events played a part in the changes of how ornaments were made.

Lights: I had often heard the story of Martin Luther adding candles to his Christmas tree, but I was equally enthralled by the history of electric  Christmas lights! Edward Johnson, an employee of Thomas Edison, made quite an impression on New York City when he displayed his Christmas tree, decked out in electric lights, for all to see in the front window of his home.

Poinsettias: Poinsettias had an unusual and at times a rather unpleasant history in Mexico for many years. It wasn't until the 1800's that poinsettias were introduced to America. A Mr. Poinsett brought back seeds from the flowers after a political trip to Mexico. The circumstances surrounding his trip and return, as well as Mr. Poinsett's personality were amusing to read about.

The Twelve Days of Christmas: At a time when Catholicism was banned in England the Catholic church wrote this beloved Christmas carol. Each day represents a Biblical principle, for example the Trinity, the fruits of the Spirit, the ten commandments, etc.

There are a total of twenty-six chapter in Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas, so there is much to learn and enjoy in this little volume! Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas is hardcover and would make a lovely gift.

My only caveat would be the authors subtle chiding of Christians who do not celebrate the tradition of Santa Claus with his apparent enthusiasm. I was intrigued to read about the real life Saint Nicholas and King Wenceslas. I think their good deeds are worth remembering, however I personally just don't believe they are still alive and traveling the globe once yearly. : )

With all that said I would definitely recommend this book, and it is one that I am sure we will enjoy for many years to come.

*I received a complimentary copy of Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas from Book Look Blogger in exchange for my honest review*